Paris (AFP) - French cyclist Julian Alaphilippe, who led for the majority of the 2019 Tour de France, said on Tuesday he will use next month's Criterium du Dauphine to prepare for this year's race.
Alaphilippe, 28, eventually had to bow to Team Ineos' Egan Bernal with three stages to go in last year's race.
The cycling season has been re-scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic with the Tour starting on August 29 with a September 20 finish.
"I'm burning with desire to restart the season to see how I feel and what I can do," Alaphilippe tweeted.
In a separate statement from his Deceuninck-Quick Step team, Alaphilippe said: "The Criterium du Dauphine is the best preparation for the Tour de France. It will be a unique edition, with many difficult stages, but it doesn't frighten me.
"I would love to win a stage again, like last year."
Alaphilippe will begin his term with two races he won last year, the one-day Strade Bianche on August 1 before the Milan-San Remo a week later.
The four-day Criterium begins on August 12 in Clermont-Ferrand before heading east and ending in the Alpine town of Megeve.
Four-time Tour winner Chris Froome, who will leave Ineos for Israel Start-Up Nation in 2021, was ruled out of last year's race after a crash in last June's Dauphine where he suffered multiple fractures.